Private coaching is all the rage these days. When I got into coaching over 16 years ago, hiring someone like me was considered an “extravagance.” Today, a business coach is an indispensable resource for many practitioners among us.
I, too, have seen remarkable results in my business using a coach and – lucky me! – have the best business coach in the universe. But coaching is not for everyone. Or maybe more to the point, not everyone is coachable.
Are you coachable?
Before you hire someone, step back and reflect on your situation. Why do you want to bring on a coach? Is it because:
- Your bookings for the next month or two are dismal. You panic and want some help to drive some FAST business in the door.
- Your website needs an overhaul but you want nothing to do with it. You want to hand off all those decisions to someone else.
- You need someone to hold your feet to the fire to finally get your big project done. But you’re busy and the last thing you need is homework or someone to push you to meet timelines.
In these cases, coaching will fail. A coach is not a “fix-it” person. She is there to guide you on how to make your own repairs or, in some cases, dump the old broken thing (process, idea, mindset) and create a new one.
How to Know When You’re Ready
There are 4 big things that your coach is going to ask you to do. If you can say yes to all of them, you are good to go. You must:
- Make a commitment. You need to be ALL IN when it comes to a coaching relationship. A strong coach will ask you to take on new challenges, and if you are deeply committed to improvement, she will guide you to the next level. It takes perseverance and focus to forge ahead. If you are wavering at all or need to “think about it”, then you are not ready.
- Form new habits. We all know the definition of insanity – a person who does the same thing over and over and expects a different result. You may be tasked to jettison unproductive behaviors, thoughts, and toxic relationships in your life. Your coach will help you identify what those things are and to eliminate tolerations. If the thought of getting hardcore about change scares you (versus jumping up and down shouting “YEAH, BABY, BRING IT!”), you need to hold off on hiring a coach.
- Learn to fish. Some clarification here: A coach and a consultant are two different things. A consultant does things FOR you. A coach works WITH you: she guides you, counsels you, brainstorms with you, and keeps you accountable. Your coach is your confidant, an objective, trusted ally who has your best interests at heart. Coaching builds your confidence to blast through plateaus and teaches you to fish (a really good coach should ultimately work their way out of a job). If you are looking for someone to take things off your hands, to write your website copy or create your next public talk, then you need a consultant, not a coach.
- Invest time. A “turnaround” takes time. Sure, I’ve had some amazing one and done coaching sessions that nudged people forward. But just like health, it’s rare to see big shifts after one consultation. Coaching is a process, not a destination. Some of the most profound experiences I’ve had from coaching occurred between sessions, as new ideas marinated in my brain during my downtime.
Ten top ways a coach can help you
I recently stumbled onto this list of things a coach can do for you written by William B. Cole. It’s quite good and I thought you’d get some insights from it, too:
- A coach can be a confidant. You can tell your coach things you wouldn’t tell others, because a coach is trained to understand and be non-judgmental.
- A coach can help you see your blind spots. Everyone has personal areas that are out of view or awareness until someone points them out. A coach is perfectly poised to perform this critical function.
- A coach can provide objective feedback. Other people may have agendas. Your coach has your best interests in mind in providing feedback and counsel to you.
- A coach provides another set of eyes. Even the top performers in the world have coaches to help them see what they themselves can’t see.
- A coach can keep you accountable. Your coach can help you take on more responsibility by having you report weekly on your accomplishments and initiatives.
- A coach can be a sounding board. Your coach can be another set of ears as you talk about the things that are bothering you. As you hear yourself have a conversation, new personal realizations emerge.
- A coach can be another source of creative ideas. You can brainstorm and try out new ideas, behaviors and mental processes as your coach provides a safe place to experiment.
- A coach can help you create your vision. Your coach can assist you in developing your plans for success based on your values, personal strengths, background and assets.
- A coach can help celebrate your successes and be a source of strength when you fail. Your coach can be a supportive and nurturing source of energy.
- A coach can help you process life. Life is a process and a good coach can assist you in reviewing and reframing what happens in your business and your life!
Invest in a Coach You Can Trust
A successful coaching relationship relies on deep connection. You should “feel the love” for your coach the minute you start a conversation. If you don’t… trust your gut. Back away slowly and find someone else.
When the time is right, move forward. Coaching is no longer a luxury. It’s a small investment that can deliver a big payoff at the end. The most successful athletes, executives, and practitioners have gotten to where they are with the help and guidance of a coach. You can, too.
It just may be the game-changer that makes all the difference in bringing you the business – and life – that you truly desire.